This week is a scheduled “back off” week with the programming. Better known as “deloading,” the goal is to give your body a chance to recover and heal after a few weeks of tough workouts, heavy weights, or perhaps a big competition or meet. A deload week is also necessary for the long-term success of the current program which began the week of 9/5 and culminates the week of 11/28.
What are the benefits of a “back off” week?
The best way to answer that is to look at what takes the brunt of what we do:
Muscles and joints – since Labor day our focus shifted from strength gains over the summer, to speed and efficiency within our movements. This means lighter weights but higher reps. Do you recall an increase in sets of 8 – 10 reps, high volume barbell movements, more high-intensity low skill movements (slam balls, burpees, line touches, etc)? The weight has been lower, but the volume of work has been higher for the past 5 weeks. Backing off a little on the volume allows the muscles more time to adapt and heal, allowing you to be stronger and more efficient in the weeks to follow.
Central Nervous System – you know that your brain works just as hard as your muscles when you workout, right? If you didn’t, now you do. Sometimes this is the reason, after a really heavy deadlift workout, for example, you might feel foggy, hazy or almost like you have a hangover without the headache; because your central nervous system is so taxed. This can affect your workouts in terms of not being able to do as much weight as prior workouts consisting of the same things, lack of appetite, excessive tiredness, and even a decreased sex drive. If you’ve had a stretch of 2-3 days of this in the past couple weeks, this deload week is definitely for you.
Who should be “backing off” this week?
If you’ve been with us since Labor Day and working out consistently at least 3 times per week, and hitting it with high intensity each and every time, then this deload is for you. If you haven’t been with us since then, but maybe you fall under one of the descriptions above, then this week is for you.
Who can approach this week as any other week?
If you’re less than 3 weeks into this whole CrossFit thing and working out is completely new to you, you’re good to approach this week with the same fervor and zeal as the previous weeks.
Perhaps your September was as crazy as mine and you were only able to get 1, 2, or maybe 3 workouts if you were lucky, in each week. Unless you fall under one of the affected areas above, you’re good to approach this week with the aforementioned fervor and zeal.
Ok, so how do I do back off the right way?
First, follow the percentages and direction of your Coaches. If it says to keep the 4 x 5 shoulder press at 60-65% across all sets, don’t go to 80% because it was “feeling good.” Next, it’s OK to back off on the intensity of your workouts this week. If you get capped, so what? If you scale weights/heights/movements I guarantee you’ll still have a great workout, your body will thank you, and you’ll probably learn something too.
As always please let us know if you have questions about this week or the programming in general. Here are some other articles discussing the topic of deloading as well.
All smiles after Saturday's workout.